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Meeting Woody Allen (1986)
"Meetin' WA" (original title)

 -  Documentary | Short
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 568 users  
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Revolutionary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard conducts a twenty-five minute interview with influential and acclaimed American director Woody Allen on the cultural radiation, the ... See full summary »

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Revolutionary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard conducts a twenty-five minute interview with influential and acclaimed American director Woody Allen on the cultural radiation, the ubiquity and significance of Television, and how Television compares with cinema as a medium and form of expression. Written by Steve Pulaski

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Godard trying to be relevant
3 May 2008 | by (bangkok) – See all my reviews

Godard interviews Woody Allen in New York Two of the greatest minds in modern cinema sit talking at cross purposes. Woody is on the back foot, looking uneasy most of the time, and often quite terrified, as the Godard rambles on in French, waiting for the interpreter to catch up. Allen is amazingly inarticulate, his speech full of false-starts and aborted phrases, seeking words he can't find, letting sentences tail off lamely. He looks like he's doing a very bad job interview. Neither does Godard impress. A film-school exercise in which the students pretended to be Godard and Woody Allen would have been more intelligent and informative. With some frivolous intertitles and dramatic music in the middle of Allen's sentences – quite meaningless sometimes - Godard seems to be deliberately trying to ruin a serious interview. Woody certainly is serious, far too serious, always answering in earnest. The conversation rarely gets going. Godard can speak English enough to make himself understood, but prefers French because he doesn't want to make it easy.

Woody laments at how watching movies on television is a small experience compared to the old cinema days. Godard suggests that television is an evil akin to radioactivity and is affecting his creative potential. Woody takes him literally and in order to politely follow up the point says (quite sincerely) that he's heard standing too close to colour CRTs can give you radiation poisoning. How he must have cringed at that blooper afterwards, worthy of the 'human chameleon' Zelig. He waffles on a little more, having totally lost presence of mind, and is mercifully faded out. You are increasingly aware that Allen is coming across exactly like George in Seinfeld, bluffing his way through a difficult question, his voice and speech mannerisms are bizarrely similar.

After a while it just becomes hilarious. Godard is babbling on in French making himself totally unintelligible, the interpreter is translating simultaneously, Allen is looking backwards and forwards at each of them with his mouth open in bewilderment and terror. By this time we suspect that Godard is taking the urine, and Allen is being made to look a fool.

It's reassuring that the conversation of brilliant people can be so dull and ineffectual, especially when the intention is to create something significant and timeless. This is one of the worst interviews you'll ever see, but a fascinating 25 minutes.


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